Healthy, hearty and easy to throw together. This roasted carrot lentil salad makes the perfect plant-based (100% vegan) meal. Carrots are roasted in the oven with cayenne pepper (for a little spiciness) together with cumin and a pinch of cinnamon. Then, they are served over a bed of spinach and French green lentils and drizzled with my go-to lemon-tahini dressing. Pomegranate seeds add a pop of color and sweet-tart freshness. All in all a super nutritious salad — and tasty to boot!
Choosing lentils for this recipe
For this recipe, you’ll want to use French green lentils (as known as le Puy lentils). These are my favourite lentils for soups and salads, as they hold their shape really well once cooked. The smaller black beluga lentils also are a great choice. When making this dish, it’s important to cook the lentils just right. I usually check them a couple times for doneness as they’re cooking; usually around the 20 minute mark. The lentils should hold their shape well, but also be tender — think al dente.
Roasted Carrot Lentil Salad topped with tahini dressing
This salad itself is very simple and the ingredients basic. Which is why simple spices and a flavourful dressing are important. Tahini tastes terrific with hearty greens (like kale, spinach and even cabbage). And this tahini dressing couldn’t be easier to make! It is a simple combination of tahini paste (ground sesame seeds), lemon juice, cumin, salt, and pepper, and thinned with warm water. So easy!
Roasted Carrot Lentil Salad with Tahini Dressing
For the salad:
- 3/4 cup dried French green lentils (le Puy lentils) (150 g)
- 5-6 carrots, halved lengthwise, and in same-size pieces (500-550 g)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- pinch of cinnamon (ceylon)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 handfuls spinach, stems removed and chopped (or other greens, such as arugula)
- seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
- sumac, to garnish (optional)
For the dressing:
- 4 tablespoons tahini (well-stirred)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 60 ml cold water
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Cook the lentils according to the package instructions in double the amount of water until al dente (bissfest), between 20-30 minutes. Strain any remaining water and stir in a sprinkle of salt.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Transfer the carrots to the baking sheet, drizzle with oil and spices, and toss well until the carrots are coated (I use my hands, but you can also do this in a bowl and then transfer to the baking sheet). Spread in an even layer, careful not to crowd and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until they are softened and browned (depending on size of pieces).
Prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, mix whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and water until well combined. Thin with additional water, if needed.
To serve, place the spinach on a serving platter (or divide between two plates), top with the lentils and carrots and drizzle with some of the tahini dressing. Garnish with pomegranates and a sprinkle of sumac (if using). Serve with the remaining dressing on the side, to be added as desired.
- I use my favourite go-to olive oil (Farchioni Olii S.p.A) for this recipe. It is heat resistant so works really well for roasting, frying and tastes great in salad dressings.
- Soaking lentils in advance can help with digestion and also speed up cooking time. Just cover them in cold water with a splash of apple cider vinegar and let them sit overnight. Rinse and then cook.
- If you don't have sumac, it can be skipped. It gives a little extra tartness to this recipe. Sumac can be found in Middle Eastern markets, speciality spice shops, or online.
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